After watching Chelsea and Manchester City acquit themselves so well in the Champions League over the last few days, Thursday night was Manchester United and Arsenal’s time to shine as they kicked off their Europa League semi-final ties against Roma and Villarreal respectively.
Well, we say ‘time to shine’ – the Gunners were pretty hopeless, though they do still have a foothold in the tie thanks to Nicolas Pepe’s second half penalty.
Meanwhile, United looked shaky in the first half of their clash with Roma, but they were absolutely sublime in the second half and they now look nailed on to book their place in the final.
The first major action of the night came over at Estadio de la Ceramica as the home side took the lead courtesy of Manu Trigueros’ strike.
Not to be outdone, United soon took the lead in their clash with Roma thanks to some beautiful link-up play between Paul Pogba and Edinson Cavani, before Bruno Fernandes (obviously) slotted home.
It looked like being a long night for United’s Italian opposition given the mood Pogba and co. looked to be in, though they were handed a glorious opportunity to level the scores just minutes after going behind.
Pogba was adjudged to have handled in the area with referee Carlos del Cerro Grande pointing to the spot, but it’s fair to say Twitter wasn’t too sure about the decision…
While United could feel hard done by, Arsenal were just having an absolute nightmare. Former Gunners boss Unai Emery watched on as his side doubled their lead on the night thanks to Raul Albiol’s back-post strike.
Again, not to be outdone, United went and got themselves in all sorts of trouble as well – what solidarity from our English clubs!
After starting the first half so strongly, United did likewise in the second period as they raced out of the blocks with Cavani smashing an excellent finish into the top corner to level the scores on the night.
With United ruining their pact with Arsenal to both be complete embarrassments, the Gunners took it upon themselves to be so embarrassing that their tie with Villarreal looked like it could be over by the end of the first leg…
After a shaky first half United looked to be back at their best and they took a firm grip on the tie thanks to goals from Pogba and a second of the night for both Cavani and Fernandes.
Meanwhile, Arsenal gave themselves a glimmer of hope thanks to Nicolas Pepe’s second-half penalty.
However, things started to get a little bit silly as former Watford man Etienne Capoue attempted a bold tactic to avoid being sent off…that’s right, Etienne – if you can’t see it then it didn’t happen.
Over in Manchester, the Red Devils’ place in the Europa League final was all but secured as Mason Greenwood wrapped up an emphatic 6-2 win over Roma.
So, United come from behind to win 6-2 against Roma and ten-man Arsenal grabbed a late goal to give themselves hope against ten-man Villarreal. Got it?